There are many reasons for wanting a promotion. More money. More leadership. Change. Flexibility. Whatever your reason, it’s okay to directly approach your employer or manager, because you can’t assume that your employer knows your career ambitions. Don’t start a conversation with what you want. Instead, start with what the other person wants. In business, the phrase “Return on Investment” is used to determine how quickly a decision to invest in new technology, marketing, expansion and more will pay off. With an employee (you), the employer is investing in salary, training, benefits, workspace, etc. So, starting off with what your employer wants is a good strategy.
What are the main ROIs for an employer? There are 10 key “buying motivators” for employers regardless of the employee’s role:
(1) Generate Income, (2) Cut Costs, (3) Save Time, (4) Make Work Easier, (5) Solve a Specific Problem, (6) Contribute to Competitiveness, (7) Build Relationships and a Positive Representation/Image, (8) Expand or Grow Business, (9) Attract New Customers, and (10) Retain Existing Customers.
Before working on your ROI, it’s first imperative to know your employer’s objective so that you can align your ROI to it. Do a deep dive into both the employer’s overall mission and the goals for the position you’re targeting. And decipher whether there are differences between what your employer organization wants and what your manager wants. Some thoughts to ponder:
What My Employer Wants
- The competencies summarized by my employer for my targeted position include___________.
- My employer’s main priorities for my department/team in the short-term and long-term are ___________.
- Regarding these priorities, specific problem areas to tackle or areas to enhance are ____________.
- I have already focused on these priorities in my current position by doing _______________.
- The specific, bottom-line results I have contributed to those priorities include ________________.
- In my targeted role, I would be able to make additional contributions by __________________.
What My Manager Wants
- If different in some respects from my employer’s wants, my manager’s main priorities or my department/team in the short-term and long-term are __________________.
- From conversations with others and through observation, it seems my manager could use help with __________________.
- In a promoted role, I would be able to help my manager by _________________________.
My Return on Investment (ROI) Solutions
Going back to the ten key buying motivators (ROI solutions), these questions and activities can help you develop ideas that document the ROI you’ve made to your employer:
- Where have you gone above-and-beyond to set yourself apart from your coworkers?
- Review prior performance evaluations for ideas or information that document your contributions. Write down the highlights of that material.
- Educators often use “realia” – objects that relate classroom teaching to real life. What “realia” would help your manager see the essence of your contributions? Examples would include products developed, website design, reports written, letters of appreciation from customers or co-workers, and so on.
- What measurable outcomes have been accomplished through your contributions? Brainstorm beyond your work role to how your team, your manager, your department, your company, your customers, your community, or your industry were affected.
- If you participated in a team effort, what measurable outcome did the group achieve? Was there a percentage increase in productivity? Did performance exceed goals and expectations? Do the numbers show streamlined process? A solved conflict? Success with a lean team? Revenues? Money saved? A repaired relationship with a key customer?
- Compare your performance to a variety of numbers, including your prior work performance, the company’s past record, the industry standards, or your competitor’s average.
Make sure that in presenting your ROI, you tie back your prior success stories with how you can help your employer or manager in the future. Include prior contributions and future projections. Here’s a sample ROI statement from a Supply Chain professional wanting to move from manager to director:
“With me on board with the ABC initiative, precision can recover a minimum of 4 percent per unit, or a $47K cost savings. A look at our inventory of 15,000 units shows a potential $190M savings to the company in just one year.”
Whatever it is that you want in a promotion, challenge yourself to reflect on your worth, and how it will enhance your employer’s success!
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